Kaneohe Bay is such a beautiful place filled with a variety of marine life. However, not all the marine life is good for the bay. In Kaneohe there is an invasive algae called Smothering Seaweed; this is a robust algae that can literally smother coral and out compete the native algae. To combat such a ferocious beast The Nature Conservancy has established quite a tool belt, this includes an underwater vacuum to remove the algae, and an army of native sea urchins to help eat the scraps. These methods have been proven to be successful but more research can be done.
A question that is being asked is how much of the smothering seaweed do the grazing fish in the bay eat? To answer this question an experiment was designed that put a piece of the invasive algae in a small cage and a piece of the algae outside of the cage next to it. Each of these algae pieces were weighted prior to being put in the water. Four days later when they are removed they will both be weighted again.
This experiment will show a ratio between how fast the algae in the cage can grow without being grazed upon compared to how much the algae not in the cage weight will change with the addition of fish nibbling on it. The results are still a work in progress but when they are in they will be shared here!
Amidst the prevailing winds, plentiful windsurfers, and sharky waters of Wailuku lie beautiful reefs and happy fishes. Standing on the dock of Kahului Harbor, looking out onto the seas, one may never wish to jump right into these waters and go for a swim. Yet last week, the marine monitoring team along with Kirsten jumped right in and conducted some ecosystem surveys.
The water was fun, however the highlight of the trip were the connections that were made. The crew had the chance to connect with the Community Fisheries Enforcement Unit (CFEU), a one of a kind DLNR/DOCARE unit that focuses their efforts on patrolling a 13 mile wide stretch of coast on North Maui. This stretch of coast sees a lot of fishing pressure and provides protein sustenance for the surrounding communities. Not only does the CFEU practice enforcement they also promote pono fishing practices through education and community outreach. What stands out the most about the CFEU personnel is their dedication to their jobs, you can see their passion radiate when they speak of their experiences with the community and the water. The crew has an unprecedented knowledge of the coastline from resident marine life populations to benthic habitats to daily tidal changes, but what is more surprising is the general level of respect the local fishermen hold for the CFEU unit.
The unit just made their one year mark, and the crew said with grins across their faces “its only maintenance now. When we started, endless amounts of calls were coming in and violations were plentiful. Now its all about maintaining our presence and continuing to build relationships with the local communities.” Their success is undeniable, they have seen a 21% decrease in illegal fishing complaints in the past year, conducted 468 fisher inspections, and have observed a 88% compliance rate with fishing regulations. Already, the officers are seeing an improvement in the fish populations in the surrounding areas.
For more information on the CFEU please visit the DLNR site here.
Discussion brings ideas together into a plan. sometimes ideas can run amok when they are constantly floating around oneʻs mind. Letting those ideas be shared and discussed will help to weed out the bad ideas and develop upon the great ones.
The fellowship is in full swing; our schedules are packed to the brim and we will be doing a lot of traveling over the next few weeks, working on several outer-island projects. Even within the chaos there is always time to sit down, take a breather, gather your thoughts, and take advantage of those around you.
The dynamics in Kīholo are amazing! This community has fought for their kuleana and taken this measure of responsibility to establish a functional model for community-based management. Hui Aloha Kīholo is a non-profit organization who has identified themselves as the primary caretakers of this place. Years ago when the State of Hawai`i wanted to shut down Kīholo from public access because of blatant mis-use and legal liability, the Hui stepped up and requested that the State entrust them to regulate access and to care for the State Park. With ample support from Hawai`i Island communities, they have been successful in maintaining and cultivating healthy relationships at Kīholo.
People came from all around the Island. The monthly Kīholo Work Days hosted by The Nature Conservancy draws so many volunteers. It was great to hear that people drove all the way from Hilo and Puna to “give back”. It was obviously a place that people were connected to in some way. We spent our morning clearing invasive plants from the edge of Kīholo fishpond to reduce additional sedimentation in the pond. Many hands made for light work and afterwards we were able to share a potluck together and leisure in the shade.
The ‘ohana of Kīholo represents the breath of this place. Ku`ulei Keakealani, member of Hui Aloha Kīholo, shared about her kūpuna of Kīholo. Her stories gave life and context for everyone. Aunty Shirley, a kūpuna of Kīholo, told of her journeys as a little girl from Pu`uanahulu on the slopes of Hualalai, to the shores of Kīholo on the back of a mule. She referenced a time of “fun” and “really living off the land”. It was wonderful.
Just as we have the power to harm the ocean, we have the power to put in place policies and modify our own behavior in ways that would be an insurance policy for the future of the sea, for the creatures there, and for us, protecting special critical areas in the ocean. -Dr. Sylvia Earle
Dr. Sylvia Earle is not only a renowned oceanographer but also a pioneer for both women in science and ocean exploration. She has logged more than 7000 hours underwater, led more than 100 expeditions, and holds many record breaking dives, including a solo dive to 3280 feet in 2012. Her passion for the ocean and exploration has led her to experience many parts of the world that are unknown and allowed her to see, first hand, the effect of human impact and global warming on the environment.
Netflix has recently released a exclusive documentary, Mission Blue, featuring Dr. Sylvia Earle and her incredible expeditions. Check out the trailer and her award winning Ted talks below.
For more information on Dr. Sylvia Earle & her outstanding work please visit her organizations website here.
No one can predict what the future holds, many obstacles may be faced and challenges overcome. Live in the present, learn from the past, and prepare as best you can for the future. Be patient, go with the flow, and welcome opportunities to grow with open arms.
Please keep this ʻōlelo noʻeau in mind as we all prepare for the storms on their way. Stay safe, prepare you and your families, and best wishes to everyone!